Many people seem to think birth control is affordable, but high costs are one of the primary barriers to contraceptive access. It is for this reason that the Obama administration recently followed the recommendation of the Institute of Medicine to ensure that birth control will be covered as a preventive service with no cost-sharing beginning August 1, 2012.
Although three-quarters of American women of childbearing age have private insurance, they still have had to pay a significant portion of contraceptive costs on their own.
A recent study shows that women with private insurance paid about 50 percent of the total costs fororal contraceptives, even though the typical out-of-pocket cost of noncontraceptive drugs is only 33 percent.
In some cases oral contraceptives approach 29 percent of out-of-pocket spending on health care for women with private insurance.
Women of reproductive age spend 68 percent more on out-of-pocket health care costs than do men, in part because of contraceptive costs.